Olympian Nolan Kasper managed to fight off a nasty virus that left him hospitalized just 36 hours before his fourth place finish in today’s Audi Birds of Prey slalom competition at Beaver Creek. Aside from the recent illness, Kasper has undergone a long battle to get himself back in podium reach. Earlier this fall he underwent a hip surgery in September that kept him off the snow until November 1st in Vail.
Kasper had this to say in regards to overcoming injury and illness, “Everyone goes through injuies. It sucks and it’s something you have to work through. I just had to deal with it, work incredibly hard and try and get as healthy as possible for whenever I could get back. Luckly Levi was canceled and Val d’Isere was moved here, so it was a good first race back.”
Olympic and World Cup Champion Ted Ligety had no trouble being impressed by Nolan’s fortitude, “What Nolan did was impressive. I mean he was hooked up to an IV a few days ago because he was so dehydrated. To even finish in the top 30 would have been a good result considering how sick he is. The fact that he was almost on the podium tells you a lot about how determined he is.”
Reigning Audi FIS World Cup overall champion Ivica Kostelic of Croatia captured the victory, a slight .14 in front of Italian Cristian Deville. Ted Ligety finished out the day in 13th place and Bode Miller ended with 27th. The race closed a six race series in Beaver Creek that saw Miller win a downhill, Ligety win a giant slalom and take second in another and Lindsey Vonn capture a historic super G win on her home snow.
It has been an exciting two weeks in Beaver Creek, and a stellar showing for both the men and women’s US Ski Team.
Kasper confirms, “Everyone is skiing well. Our veterans are skiing fast and we’ve got a lot of young guys knocking on the door. I think we’re going to have a pretty good year.”
Photography by Doug Haney/US Ski Team